By Farman Nawaz (Express Tribune)
Last Week, Qazi Hussain Ahmad held America and India responsible for the suicide attack aimed at him. Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) took the same stance when the attack on Malala Yousafzai took place.
This may all be well and good, however, a question I would like to pose to them is,
“Why would the US and India target both pro-Taliban and anti-Taliban forces in Pakistan?”
Many religious parties hold the sentiment that the Taliban are justified for their attacks on the Pakistani security forces because of Pakistani’s involvement in the war on terror. These parties consider the Taliban nationalist as ‘freedom fighters’. To add to it, Munawar Hasan recently declared that the technology of jihad and martyrdom was the ultimate weapon for Muslims.
Muharram is a month in the Islamic calendar that marks the mourning of the descendants of the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and even the US put a halt, albeit temporarily, to drone attacks in this month.
So, sure we can blame the security forces for their association with the war on terror and applaud the so called freedom fighters for their resistance against the US, but what about those individuals who were victims of terrorist attacks that took place in the holy month of Muharram? Were the Shias attacked also taking part in the war on terror?
Ghulam Bilour of the Awami National Party (ANP), rightly stated that the people who are not raising their voice against terrorists are either on the terrorists’ side or afraid of them.
The Pakistan Army has expressed the same notion in a slightly different manner. A private news channel, partnering with the Pakistani Army, aired a programme on the causes of terrorists’ havens in North Waziristan. The gist of it also explained the reasons of the delayed military operation in North Waziristan.
It was also revealed in the programme that there is a vast difference of opinion amongst political parties regarding the military operation. The anchor went on to mention that the Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz (PML-N) and the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) were some of the parties that opposed the military operation against the Taliban in North Waziristan.
Although this statement revealed the political inclinations of these parties, the bounce-back effect of it has the potential to cause the more religious vote banks to lean towards these parties, making it in essence, a pre-poll rig that may result in electing someone whose ideologies may not be reasonable and side with the terrorists instead. However, many other parties of the country have advocated the idea of taking decisive steps against these terrorists.
The next question, although fairly simple in my eyes, is determining who the actual terrorists are.
Fairly simple, I say, because the terrorists who attacked the security forces, Malala Yousafzai and the Shia community in the month of Muharram do have a hidden identity. They themselves have actually taken responsibility for the said attacks. Not only that, but they do so proudly!
So then why the confusion, why the wait?
Do you not think that it is high time we draft an anti-terrorism policy to wipe out their threat once and for all? As citizens of this country it is our responsibility to educate the masses on the philosophies of the Taliban. It is up to us to unveil their true intentions and explain to our people what their notion of ‘freedom’ actually entails and the potential harm it can have on us.
The first step, to combat the vermin of terrorism that has bitten Pakistan at its heart, is to recognise it. Once we have done that, we will give way to realisation of the detrimental effect it has and finally find the need to eradicate it from our system. Yes, it is not an easy task, given the severe disparity of opinions in this country, but it is not an impossible task- especially with rise of media and technological reach.
We should open our eyes to political parties that are daring enough to speak out against these terrorists, just like Nawaz Sharif has done. As long as the fear of losing a religious vote bank does not compound Sharif’s political campaign he has what it takes to combat and finally rid Pakistan of its weakness.
If the same religious vote bank can favour Imran Khan, despite his liberal policies of stagingsingers and entertainers at his political rallies to amuse the public, then it should not be a very difficult task for Nawaz Sharif to present his case reasonably against these terrorists in front of the public, explain their true agenda and gain the sympathies of the religious vote bank.
Make an anti- terrorism policy happen, and make it happen fast- Pakistan doesn’t have much time left before the terrorist virus consumes it completely.